SBD/7/Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

NIKE-WIEDEN & KENNEDY MARRIAGE ON THE ROCKS?

     The relationship between Nike and its ad agency, Wieden &
Kennedy, "is becoming less important as Nike is forced to focus
its attention beyond the U.S.," according to the latest issue of
ADVERTISING AGE.  One "Nike insider" said that the agency, with
offices in only Portland, OR, and Amsterdam, "may lose some U.S.
creative work this year."  Wieden & Kennedy was involved in
Nike's upcoming $60M revived "Just do it" campaign, which will
include a Spike Lee-directed spot featuring Michael Jordan and
Lee's Mars Blackmon character.  Last week at the SuperShow in
Atlanta, Nike VP/Marketing Liz Dolan said the "refocus" on "Just
do it" is not a repudiation of Wieden & Kennedy's recent efforts,
but an attempt to "shift back to image from product-focused
advertising."  But Dolan added:  "There was a time just three
years ago when we and Wieden had the space to be more off the
wall. ... But different times call for a different strategy."
While the agency is still viewed by many as Nike's "house shop,"
Wieden recently began an image campaign for Microsoft.  AD AGE's
Jeff Jensen reports, "There's talk that comments within Wieden
about Microsoft being the 'where the future of the agency lies'
got back to Nike" (ADVERTISING AGE, 2/6 issue).
     NIKE'S EIGHT "BIG IDEAS":  Nike plans to focus its efforts
this year on its eight "Big Ideas":  Air technology, team sports,
sport training, its new Ndestrukt shoes, street hockey, all-
conditions gear, soccer and Nike F.I.T. apparel.  Liz Dolan said
the company's goal is to "dominate the field of play" (Heather
Pauley, BLOOMBERG/WASHINGTON TIMES, 2/7).
     SWOOSH BALL:  Nike announced that it signed an exclusive
licensing deal with sporting goods maker VSI, formerly Voit, to
place the Nike label on soccer balls, footballs, basketballs and
volleyballs.  A Nike soccer ball is expected this spring.  While
the sale of Nike balls will be restricted to authorized dealers
of Nike footwear, the company also hopes to sell to schools.  It
is Nike's third licensing deal since last week when they
announced deals with Jantzen on swimwear and H.H. Cutler on
children's clothing (Jeff Manning, Portland OREGONIAN, 2/3).
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Related Topics:

Microsoft, Nike, Wieden Kennedy

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